Sony Masterworks Releases The Essential Lena Horne to Celebrate the Legendary Singer

2-CD Set Includes Six Songs Previously Unavailable on CD Available August 24, 2010


On August 24, Sony Masterworks releases The Essential Lena Horne, which spans thirty years of the legendary artist's career, from her first recordings in 1941 to her live recordings of the 1950s and '60s. This 39-song, 2-CD collection of golden standards includes six tracks previously unavailable on CD and begins and ends with irreplaceable versions of her signature song, "Stormy Weather."

Horne's skills as a performer were sharpened over the years before nightclub audiences around the world. Two such performances are featured extensively in this collection: Horne's February 1957 appearance at the Waldorf Astoria in New York, and a 1960 Las Vegas performance at the Sands Hotel. The medleys of tunes by Cole Porter, Jules Styne and Duke Ellington highlight the multiple facets of Horne's delivery.

Horne's sole appearance in a Broadway musical came in 1957, when she starred in Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg's Jamaica. The New York Times critic Brooks Atkinson made special note of Horne's four songs in the show: "[These] are songs that know they have been sung by the time Miss Horne gets through with them."

The song most identified with Horne is "Stormy Weather," composed in 1933 by Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler. She recorded it for RCA in 1941, and the song became the title track for the first film in which she had a starring role in 1943. The 1957 version recorded at New York's Webster Hall with Lennie Hayton and His Orchestra is considered by many to be her definitive recording of the song.

Horne was a unique figure in American culture during the 20th century. Though often identified as an actress, and frequently cited as one of the first black stars to sign a long-term contract with a major Hollywood studio, Lena Horne made just eight films and appeared in only five shows on Broadway. Winner of four Grammys® and a Tony®, Horne made some of her finest recordings for RCA Victor in the 1940s and '50s.

  The following selections appear for the first time on CD:

  --  If You Can Dream recorded January 20, 1956 with Lennie Hayton and His
  --  Give Me Love recorded June 13, 1958
  --  Push de Button recorded August 27, 1957 with Neil Hefti, His Orchestra
      and Chorus
  --  Speak Low recorded June 3, 1958 with Lennie Hayton and His Orchestra
  --  Take It Slow, Joe recorded August 27, 1957 with Neil Hefti, His
      Orchestra and Chorus
  --  I Let A Song Go Out Of My Heart recorded July 1, 1962 with Marty
      Paich, conductor

First Call Analyst:
FCMN Contact:

SOURCE: Sony Masterworks

CONTACT: Angela Barkan,, +1-212-833-8575, or
Larissa Slezak,, +1-212-833-6075